TOP Vietnam Veterans has received letters regarding the dog tags we retrieve from Vietnam. The writers of these letters are concerned about the authenticity of the tags.
We are very much aware of the dog tag cottage industry in Vietnam, and
take that into consideration when scrutinizing and screening dog tags for
authenticity. We get these tags from a couple of sources: From outright
purchases, and also donations from Vietnamese who know what we are trying to do and give them to us at no cost. We scrutinize the tags in several ways: e.g., have both Vietnamese war veterans and American Vietnam Veterans go through them and weed out the fakes; we also verify as much information on the tags as possible, i.e., military ID #'s
vs. name with the actual military database information, and information about those listed on "the Wall." Furthermore, we verify the place the tag was bought or donated, with the area the veteran or
deceased served--the tags most always match up that way too. By the time a tag is reunited with the surviving family, or veteran, it is a bona fide, proven tag, all with matching correct information, located in the area where the veteran or KIA served.
We have yet to have a living veteran, or surviving family member (one who is also a Vietnam Veteran) inform us that the tag we returned to them was not authentic. They are always grateful to receive the tag. We believe this to be a healing and positive experience for all.
Since we have been retrieving the
tags, we've noticed that the numbers of authentic tags are
dwindling with each trip back to Vietnam. The point being that,
this is a finite item, all of which will eventually be sold off or
retrieved, leaving only counterfeit tags. It is our goal to
purchase as many as possible while they are available.
It has also been our observation that most of the fake tags are usually easily
and immediately identified. Few are made in an artful, painstaking fashion, with accurate military record data; most are crudely made. We believe most of the target buyers of such items are nonveteran-type tourists who don't know the difference.
We appreciate all letters from our website viewers, and we will respond to all of them.